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E-Cigarettes Have Helped 1.5 Million Brits Quit Smoking, National Survey Shows

British non-profit Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) recently published the finding of its annual Smokefree GB survey into the use of electronic cigarettes in Great Britain, announcing that 2.9 million people currently use electronic cigarettes, 1.5 million of which no longer smoke.

Halo-Reactor-Mega-designThe research, conducted by YouGov on behalf of ASH, shows that the number of electronic cigarette users in the UK has grown four times since 2012, when the reported figure stood at 700,000, and that for the first time, the number of vapers who no longer smoke tobacco cigarettes has surpassed that of dual-users. The main reason offered by former smokers for using e-cigarettes was to stop smoking, while for dual-users it was to reduce the intake of tobacco cigarettes.

However, the study points out that there are still around 9 million smokers in Britain, many of which haven’t even given electronic cigarettes a try, mainly due to misconceptions about the health dangers of vaping.

“The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end while over a third of smokers have still never tried e-cigarettes, saying the main reasons are concerns about the safety and addictiveness of e-cigarettes. It’s very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking,” Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said.

Regarding the perception of electronic cigarettes in the UK, the Smokefree GB survey found that many people are over-estimating the risk posed by vaping. Only 13% of respondents said that they consider e-cigarettes a lot less harmful than smoking, while 26% answered that they view them as equally or even more harmful than tobacco cigarettes. “This is a communications challenge that needs to be met in order to reduce the harm caused by tobacco to smokers and those around them. It may also be a factor in the slowed growth of e-cigarette uptake,” Action on Smoking and Health write on its website.

“This year’s ASH survey finds that around 1.5 million vapers are ex-smokers, for the first time a larger number than those who continue to smoke. This is encouraging news as we know that vapers who continue to smoke continue to be exposed to cancer-causing substances. The message for the 1.3 million vapers who still smoke is that they need to go further and switch completely,” Professor Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London, said.

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